Smart urban design could save lives in future heatwaves.
Heatwaves — Australia’s biggest natural killers — are getting more frequent and hotter thanks to climate change. One day cities such as Melbourne may see unprecedented heat, perhaps 48C or higher.
But our research shows that smart urban design can create refuges in cities that could feel more than 10C cooler, and without increasing energy use. Recently the Victorian Auditor-General released a report that found Victoria is not adequately prepared to deal with heat disasters. While this report focused on the ability of our services to respond to and communicate about extreme heat events, it also raises an important question: how do we better prepare our cities for more frequent and hotter heat waves?